• I've never had a PET Scan before. Can someone share their experience? Does it show if there is definitely cancer in a part of the body?

    Asked by keepsmiling75 on Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    I've never had a PET Scan before. Can someone share their experience? Does it show if there is definitely cancer in a part of the body?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Keepsmiling, I'm an oncology nurse and I can answer the second part of your question. A PET does detect malignancy, that is its main purpose although of late it is also showing promise with Alzheimer's Dementia. The dye used in a PET is fluroxydiglucose or FDG which is radio isotopes attached to sugar molecules. The sugar is attracted to the hardest working cells which are cancer cells because they divide so rapidly. The isotopes then bathes the cell which makes it light up on the scan. The test then measures the standardized uptake value or SUV which is between 1 and 15. Normal cells SUV is 1. Below 2.5 to a 1 could be precancerous cells or a cyst or polyp. Anything between 2.5 and 15 is considered a malignancy. Ask for a copy so that you can read your results. I hope this has helped answer part of your question. I have never had a patient to complain of discomfort with a PET. Good luck, Carm.

      almost 5 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar
      ticklingcancer

      One thing my Oncologist did was first looked at my CT Scan. He knew where the tumors were based on the CT. Those were the exact same areas that lit up like a christmas tree on the PET scan. It's not 100 % but it's a pretty good indicator.

      almost 5 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar
      ticklingcancer

      Oh, and my tumors did not appear in the testis. They appeared in my abdomen and chest. Pretty spread out across my body.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar
      Peroll

      In terms of experience it is just like a CT scan with contrast as they put the dye in by IV, They do this one hour before the scan then you sit and wait. The scan takes about 30 to 45 monutes so you are in the machine longer. The main difference is that they want you to have a sugar free diet for 36 hours before the scan. This can be sort of interesting as you will learn how much you like sugar or carbs.

      As Carm describes the PET scan lights up for higher metabolic rates that ues more sugar thus attract more of the sugary dye. However, things other than cancer can and do light up like cancer. For one your brain will light up just like cancer so the do not bother to scan the head. Also healing wounds, like those from surgery or radiatiom treatments, light up similar to cancer thus they usually wait 6 weeks after these for a PET scan. While the probability that anything that lights up in a PET scan is cancer is higher it is not conclusive thus if some odd location lights up you want to ask your Doctors what else could cause the light up and if necessary and feasible get a biopsy to be sure that it really is cancer

      almost 5 years ago
    • Modern's Avatar
      Modern

      My pet scan went fine I think I had a different kind from the others instead of an I've the gave me a shot of radioactive isotopes and had me wait half an hour then give me the scan instead of an Iv and contrast. The only bad thing was my arms got tired from having to hold them above my head and it got kindA boring lying in the tube for 30 min but then again I have a rather short attention span lol good luck with your scan and hope for good results :)

      almost 5 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Just one thing to clarify is that a normal PET is done from the top of the head to the mid thigh. It is true that the brain will light up but brain cells do not regenerate. However, the brains main source of food is sugar. This is why people with low sugar tendto act irratic.

      almost 5 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar
      packerbacker

      From what my doc has told me, usually the scan is "Eyes to thighs." The other thing that can light up, besides what everyone else has said, is an infection. They found a nodule in my lung, but could not confirm cancer until I had it biopsied. The table you lie on is hard and not comfortable, and some people who are claustrophobic may have difficulty. But, they can give you something to relax you. The scan itself isn't painful. The process is as described by others. I kind-of fell asleep during the 30-45 minute scan! Best of luck to you on your journey, and keep smiling!

      almost 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      The purpose of a PET scan is to identify areas of high metabolic activity. Cancer causes high metabolic activity, but so do a lot of things that are not cancers, such as any kind of infection or inflammation or even just routine digestion or healthy cell growth. Contrast high glucose is infused prior to a scan to cause these areas of high metabolic activity to show up as "hot spots" on the exam. The glucose is generally infused about an hour before the exam via an IV and you just sit quietly in a comfortable chair or recliner. The actual scan is similar to a MRI minus the noise. You will need to fast before the scan.

      almost 5 years ago
    • StacyM's Avatar
      StacyM

      I have had 2 head to toe PET scans and they are painless--other than the IV to get the dye into my body. One thing I didn't read in anyone else's post is that you will probably be strapped down on the table to keep you from moving. I was also given a pillow under my knees to alleviate any possible back pain from the flat surface. And those heated blankets are the best! I also napped while I waited for the dye to travel throughout my body and during the 'eyes to thighs' portion. Hope all goes well for you!

      almost 5 years ago
    • cancervivor's Avatar
      cancervivor

      I can't add anymore than has already been said about the PET's. But I will just say, I love the PET. One of the greatest tools ever invented for diagnosing cancer. I feel so much better after one, since I have a relatively good idea that I am clean after one.

      almost 5 years ago
    • mgregorchuk's Avatar
      mgregorchuk

      I just had a Pet Scan today, Friday,November 16, 2012. Yes, it definitely shows where the cancer is. It is a multi slice of your body. Painless. They took a quick blood test for diabetes, they weigh you, take your blood pressure. For me they then put an IV in my arm and put you ina quiet room for an hour and they then put a substance in the IV. One hour is up, they start the test . It is a half of an MRI machine that i open on both ends. 45 minute in there little by little and then you are done.

      almost 5 years ago
    • pah's Avatar
      pah

      what else can light up in a PET scan

      about 4 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy


    Read and answer more synovial sarcoma, adult soft tissue cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Synovial Sarcoma, Adult Soft Tissue Cancer page.